Title: Theory of Unification
Category: Stargate: Atlantis, Zelenka/Beckett/McKay
Warnings: slash, h/c, angst, humor
Sequel to: Theory of Relativity
Summary: Rodney and Radek go off to investigate an Ancient outpost on an island near the mainland. Things do not go as planned.
Archive: If it's on your list, you can archive it. If it isn't and you'd like it, just let me know where you're putting it.
Feedback: Feed me, Seymour.
Website: Mice's Hole in the Wall https://www.squidge.org/mice
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to many other people. But if they were mine, they'd be having very interesting adventures.
Author's Notes: Written for jennamajig in the Zelenka Ficathon on Livejournal. This is a sequel to my story for Zortified, "Theory of Relativity," and takes place a few days later. Instabeta by Pas. Further beta mayhem by kt4ever.
"It'll be incredibly simple," Rodney insisted. "We won't need any military, Elizabeth. It's just a jaunt out to some tropical island for a couple of days of poking around in an Ancient research facility and home again. It's practically a Hawaiian holiday."
"Rodney knows how to fly the Jumper," Radek agreed, smiling. "If we find anything that requires assistance, we will be close enough for help to arrive --"
"--but we won't be needing any help!" Rodney added quickly. "It's not like we're going to run into any hostile locals."
"Unlike most of your missions," Radek sniped. Rodney glared at him.
"Yes, yes. Unlike most of my missions, which are, I must remind you, on *other planets.*"
Radek nodded enthusiastically, eager to get out of the city for a bit of a holiday without having to risk life and limb by going through the Gate. This seemed the perfect opportunity. And he had a theory that he wanted to test.
Dr. Weir seemed skeptical. "Well, I'm not so sure I should let you two run off by yourselves without at least one military escort."
"Dr. Weir," Radek said patiently, "I realize that Rodney can be difficult to control, not unlike a toddler, but--"
"Hold it right there, Zelenka!" Rodney growled. "I resent that."
"You see what I mean," Radek said with a grin and a shrug. "Nevertheless, the database indicated no presence of hazardous research going on at this facility."
Rodney shot him a look, but picked up the thread of his thought. "They were doing energy source experimentation there. We could potentially find notes on constructing ZedPM's, or other options for helping to power the city. Maybe we'll even find a partially-charged ZedPM. The likelihood of anything going wrong is really fairly small."
Weir sighed. "Very well, gentlemen. But I expect you to report in tonight, and to return home tomorrow night with what you've found."
Radek grinned and caught Rodney's eye. The other man was grinning as well, excitement written on his face. "Absolutely," Rodney said. He grabbed Radek's arm. "Come on, let's get moving."
Now all Radek had to do was tell Carson he'd be away for a couple of days.
The island was about an hour away from Atlantis, far to the south of the Athosian settlement on the mainland. It would be an easy trip with the Jumper. Rodney was in the pilot's seat, barely able to contain his excitement. "I can't believe she didn't make the Major come with us," he said.
"Yes, yes. You were quite convincing," Radek replied. "I almost believed you myself." He handed Rodney a sandwich. "Carson was not happy that we will be away for the night, but he said he would survive."
"He probably just thinks we're going to come home with arrows in our butts. Of course, since there aren't any natives to piss off, that's not going to happen this time." Rodney took the sandwich and started eating, not bothering to stop talking. "I'm thinking we're going to find a partially charged ZedPM if we're lucky."
"That worked on Dr. Weir, but it won't on me. I doubt they were doing such a thing there. Really, I think it was only experimental sources they were dealing with. At best, perhaps we'll find notes." Radek bit into his own sandwich.
They'd been in the air for most of the hour already, and Rodney was eager to get into it. A flicker on the heads up display drew his attention. "Hey, what's that?" he asked, speaking with his mouth full and pointing with his sandwich.
"I am not sure," Radek said, leaning in to look more closely, adjusting his glasses.
Rodney's eyebrows arched. "There seems to be some kind of magnetic anomaly around the island." This was weird. Like, really weird.
"This is very strange indeed," Radek said, nodding. He poked at a few buttons on the panel.
The Jumper shuddered. "Hey! What did you do?" Rodney dropped the sandwich and grabbed the controls with both hands. "Something happened." His pulse quickened as the response to his mental commands and the controls balked.
"I did nothing!" Radek insisted. "The inertial dampeners have failed. Something else is happening, but I'm not sure what." He leaped to his feet and ran for the access panels in the back of the Jumper.
"You must have touched something!" Rodney yelped, struggling to keep the craft in the air. Nothing was working. The Jumper handled like a brick. Unfortunately. "Fix it, damn it! We're going down!"
"Is *ten thousand year old equipment* Rodney!" Radek shouted. "It's a miracle any of it works at all!" Rodney could hear him opening a panel and shifting crystalline circuits.
"I can't keep this thing in the air!" Panic seemed like a really good idea. They were going to die, and he still hadn't figured out what the hell was going on between him and Carson and Radek. "Atlantis, this is McKay! We're going down! We need help, like now!"
"Can you get us to the island?" Radek asked, terror in his voice.
"Shut up and let me fly. Atlantis, do you read me? Damn it, come in!"
"Why aren't they answering?"
"I don't know! I don't know!" Rodney's eyes widened as the island sped toward them at a very unfortunate angle. "Shit, we're gonna crash. Hang on!" The last thing he saw was an up close and personal view of several very large trees.
Radek moaned and tried to move. The sharp pain in his arm made him yelp, panting in his agony. He forced his eyes open and found himself in a Jumper, lying against one of the walls. His vision was blurry. Rodney lay nearby, his head bloodied, one leg twisted at a disturbing angle.
Right. The island.
He groped around for his glasses, finding them not too far from where he'd fallen in the crazily angled craft. Slipping them on his nose, he was satisfied that his vision wasn't impaired from the knock on his head.
He dragged himself over to where Rodney lay and checked his pulse. There was one. Rodney was still breathing as well, much to Radek's intense relief. "Rodney." He reached out with one hand, touching, not sure he should try to shake the unconscious man. What if there was some kind of spinal damage?
His ribs ached almost as badly as his right arm. He had to have broken bones. This was not good. He tapped his radio.
"Atlantis. Atlantis, do you read me? This is Dr. Zelenka. Please come in." His voice was shaking and he was dizzy. There was nothing but static on the radio. "Zatracene." Now what would he do?
He looked back down at Rodney. "Rodney. Rodney, please wake up. This is no time to be lazy." He brushed a hand over Rodney's forehead, worried. "Please wake up," he whispered.
Carson was going to kill him. "So much for Hawaiian holiday." He peeled back Rodney's eyelids one at a time. His pupils reacted but weren't quite equal in dilation. He probably had a nasty concussion. This was not good at all.
Radek didn't think there was much he could do for a concussion at this point, so he examined Rodney's leg. It was, in fact, badly broken. With one broken arm, he doubted he would be able to set it, but he had to at least try to straighten it. There didn't seem to be a lot of blood except from the head wound, and Rodney's breathing was regular. "This is going to hurt, príteli." He wrapped his good arm around Rodney's calf, turning and pulling to get the limb back into place.
Rodney woke with a scream.
"Easy, easy," Radek said. "Is over for now."
"Fuck," Rodney moaned.
"Your leg is broken," Radek said, "but at least we are not drowned."
Rodney's eyes opened, unfocused. "Wha'happen?"
"We lost inertial dampening, then lost power. We crashed." He leaned against the back of the pilot's seat with a sigh.
"Is too much static, or some kind of interference. I've not had time to examine the Jumper, and my arm is broken. This will be... difficult." Radek closed his eyes, blinking back tears of pain. "I think also my ribs. Breathing hurts."
"M'arms are fine," Rodney mumbled. "Head hurts. Leg... ow. Fuck."
"How is your vision?"
Rodney looked around, but Radek wasn't sure his eyes were focusing. "Only two of you. Not so bad. Nice for a sandwich. 'M dead, aren' I? Dead, dead, dead..."
Radek's heart ached but he couldn't help smiling. It was so very Rodney. "No. Not dead yet. Probably not before they send someone to rescue us."
"Rescue. Lovely idea. Call Atlantis. Have 'em send a pizza while they're at it." Rodney's eyes slipped closed and he moaned again.
"Oh no. No sleeping. Sleeping with concussions is not good." He slid closer to Rodney, patting his shoulder. "Open your eyes."
"Light hurts," Rodney hissed. "Not 'sleep." Rodney squinted at him. "Y'look lousy."
Radek sighed and shook his head. "And you are a beauty queen yourself." He took a closer look at Rodney's head, wanting to stop the bleeding. "Look at you. Did your mother never teach you to wash your face?"
"Think 'm... sick..." Rodney rolled to one side -- thankfully away from Radek -- and promptly vomited.
Radek staggered to his feet, holding his ribs, and stumbled into the Jumper's cargo compartment. He pulled out some water and a first aid kit. Working with one hand was awkward, but the stench was bad. The Ancients at least had made waste disposal units that would deal with the smell.
He cleaned it quickly, disposed of it, and washed his hand as best he could. "You will need to help me, Rodney. I need to clean the wound on your head. Tell me how you are feeling now."
"Little better," Rodney said, sounding weak but steadier. "I'm bleeding."
"Yes, Rodney, you're bleeding. This is what we shall take care of next." Radek opened the first aid kit. "Here, you must open the bandages. I can't with one hand."
Rodney nodded gingerly and took one of the packets, ripping it open as Radek washed the blood away.
"Wish Carson were here," Rodney said softly.
Radek sighed and shook his head. "No. I don't wish Carson were here. If he were here, he would be hurt too. This would not be good. You will have to deal with me for medical staff."
Rodney looked at him. "You'd look kinky in the little nurse outfit. No needles!" he grumbled.
"No needles. Only tape." He pressed the bandage to Rodney's head wound. "Hold this." Rodney put one hand against it and hissed. Radek pulled the tape out and put it in Rodney's other hand, then put pressure against the bandage. "Now tape it." Rodney muttered something under his breath. "I only have one hand, Rodney."
"Sorry." Rodney pulled some tape and awkwardly slapped it against one edge of the bandage. Radek smoothed down the tape with his thumb. They continued the process until the bandage was more or less secure and the bleeding had stopped. Radek slumped against the pilot's seat again for a rest.
"Yes, what?" His eyes were closed and he tried to breathe as shallowly as he could to reduce the pain in his ribs.
"It's bad, isn't it? The pain."
Radek nodded. "Yes. Would you open some pain medication? I can't." He heard Rodney tear open one of the plastic packets.
"Here." Rodney put the pills in his hand and Radek opened his eyes. Rodney was leaning up on one elbow, the water bottle in his other hand. "Take them. I'll give you the water."
Radek put them in his mouth and reached out for the bottle. "Thank you. You should not take any, I'm sorry. Your head--"
"I know. I know. It sucks being me." Rodney's speech was getting clearer, so the injury was perhaps not as severe as Radek had initially suspected. This was a relief.
"How is your leg?"
Rodney just glared at him for a moment. "Amputation sounds good about now, but somehow I don't think Carson has that Six Million Dollar Man technology available to make me better, faster, stronger."
"You do not look anything like Lee Majors anyway."
Radek chuckled then hissed and held his ribs. "Don't make me laugh. Please."
"I think so, yes. Breathing hurts." Rodney had probably not been quite conscious when he'd mentioned it earlier.
Rodney grew serious, worry in his eyes. "You gonna be all right?" He touched Radek's face. "You feel cold."
"Is shock, I think," Radek replied. Rodney nodded.
"We're a hell of a pair. How long was I out?"
"I'm not sure. I can't turn my arm to look at my watch."
Rodney looked at his. "I think we were out of it for about ten minutes or so."
"They will not expect us reporting in until tonight."
"Five more hours, at least," Rodney said. "This sucks." Radek just nodded. Rodney sighed. "You need a blanket. So do I." Radek could hear the strain in Rodney's voice, pain taking its toll.
"They will be in one of the overhead compartments," Radek said. "Help me up. I'll get them."
Rodney tucked himself next to Radek, hissing in pain as he moved, and offered him an arm. Radek leaned on Rodney's shoulder and hoisted himself to his feet with a groan. He found a couple of blankets and pillows and brought them back to where Rodney sat. "We should try to splint your leg."
"I'm not sure we can manage it," Rodney said. "You've only got one arm, and it's not like I can reach at an appropriate angle to tie anything below my knee. Believe me, I'm not about to move."
Radek tucked one of the pillows under Rodney's head and awkwardly helped spread the blanket over him. He sat beside Rodney and braced a pillow behind his own back, covering himself as well. "Then we shall sit and wait this out."
"Hurts too much," Rodney mumbled. He leaned carefully against Radek. Radek let his left arm rest against Rodney's good leg.
"I know. For me also."
"You got the pain meds."
"You crashed the Jumper."
"Oh, bring that up. I'll have you know the Major says any landing you can walk away from..." Rodney paused. "Well, okay. I'm not exactly walking, but you know what I mean. Besides, you're the one who poked those buttons and messed up the ship."
"I did nothing of the sort. The ship is ten thousand years old. Is a miracle any of them work! Maybe it was the magnetic anomaly."
Rodney sighed. "Maybe. Which just means we're fucked. If they send another Jumper--"
"But that cannot be. How would the Ancients get here if not by Jumper?"
Rodney nodded against Radek's shoulder. "True."
"So as I said, it was a Jumper malfunction."
"I feel like shit," Rodney whispered.
"I know," Radek said. "So do I." Five hours, probably more. It seemed like an eternity. He hoped neither of them was bleeding internally. That would complicate things immensely.
"Maybe I can wrap your ribs," Rodney said. "Might help."
Radek nodded. "If we can find anything." Wrapping them would probably help with the pain, at least.
"Blanket," Rodney suggested. "We can share the other one. What we don't use to wrap you, we can use for a sling. Immobilize your arm."
"But what will we use for fastening? This tape for bandages, we don't have much. It would be useless on blankets anyway." Radek looked at the small first aid kit, wondering what might help.
Rodney chuckled. "Duct tape."
"This would work," Radek agreed.
Rodney reached under the pilot's seat for the repair kit. "Oh yeah. Here we go."
It was about ten minutes of painful work, but Rodney managed to tape Radek's ribs securely and tie a sling for his arm. After he settled and let himself rest, he had to admit that he felt better. "Thank you," he whispered. The pain medication wasn't enough to keep things under control, but it was better than nothing. He imagined Rodney must be in agony. His friend would hiss every time his weight shifted, gritting his teeth against it. "Here," Radek said. He lifted an arm. "Lean on me."
"Not with your ribs like that."
"It will be all right. They are more comfortable now. It's my arm that is most troublesome." He tugged at Rodney's shirt. "Besides, we must sit close if we are to share the blanket."
"Okay." Rodney nodded and they curled up together as best they could, trying to avoid more pain. Radek found himself wishing fervently that they were back in Atlantis. He sighed softly. "I wish we were home too," Rodney said, his voice quiet. "We're so screwed."
"No," Radek said. "We are not going to die here." He looked into Rodney's eyes. "We may be in pain, but neither of us is dying. For this, we should be grateful."
"Gratitude is overrated," Rodney grumbled. "God, I ache."
"What will we do until they get here? I cannot let you fall asleep."
Rodney looked at him. "I hurt too much to sleep."
Radek nodded. "But with the head injury, I know you're groggy. You must stay awake, or at least I must wake you every couple of hours."
"Prime-Not Prime?" Rodney asked. He sighed. "No. My head hurts too much."
"Just talk," Radek said. He had no idea what they would talk about, but once Rodney got started, he doubted that there would be any problem keeping him going. The man never did seem to know when to stop.
Rodney leaned his head gingerly on Radek's shoulder. "I don't know what to talk about."
"It does not matter," Radek said. "Words. You are good with words." He stroked Rodney's arm slowly with his fingertips.
Rodney closed his eyes. "Why--" He fell into an awkward silence.
"Why did you ask me to sleep with you and Carson?"
So that was it. He'd wondered when Rodney would bring it up again. Rodney had stayed that night, but left shortly after they woke. It had only been a few days since then, but he hadn't returned to them. "Because Carson wanted to be with you," Radek said. "You wanted to be with him."
"And that's it? It was that simple?"
"Nothing is ever simple, Rodney." He had a theory. What had happened that night was unexpected, and had swept all three of them away. "It seems I wanted you as well."
"It seems." Rodney's voice was quiet.
Radek shrugged then cringed at the motion. "I did not realize it until it happened." Rodney was silent for so long that Radek thought he had fallen asleep again. He let his fingers slip down Rodney's arm.
"You wanted me too," Rodney whispered, a sharp edge of pain still in his voice.
"Yes," Radek said softly. "I did." He leaned his cheek against Rodney's bandaged head. "I still do."
"Still." Rodney didn't move, his head still resting on Radek's shoulder.
"Very much." Radek raised his hand, stroking his fingers gently in Rodney's hair. "As does Carson."
Rodney relaxed slightly. "I didn't think you'd let me stay afterwards."
"You think I'm that rude?" He chuckled, but hissed when his ribs ached from it. "I don't make my lovers go home before they can even catch their breath."
Rodney raised his head at that. "Is that what I am?" he asked, disbelief clear in his voice.
Radek looked him in the eye for a moment then placed a soft, chaste kiss on his mouth. "Yes. That is what you are. If you wish to be, anyway."
"I..." Rodney's voice faded. He stared for a moment then leaned his head back on Radek's shoulder. "Um, yeah. Okay. That... that sounds... yeah."
Radek smiled. Even the pain and the medication couldn't dampen the warmth he felt at Rodney's answer. "This is good. I'm glad."
They sat quietly for a long time, Rodney drifting in and out. Radek woke him every so often, but the time dragged by. The pain made every moment seem an eternity. He wondered if he'd be coherent when someone finally came for them.
Rodney startled, suppressing a groan. "What? What?"
"Please, I need to talk. Or perhaps to listen. This silence, it's only making things worse."
"Right, right," Rodney said. "So talk." He looked up, his eyes bleary.
"You are feeling...?"
"Like shit, just like I have been since you woke me up the first time."
Rodney snorted. "What, the agonized groans haven't been a clue? I'm never going to walk again."
"That is nonsense. Carson will have your leg in a cast and you'll be on your feet very soon."
"Uh huh. The thing's swollen up like a balloon. Am I feverish? It's probably infected." He looked nervous for a moment. "What if he has to amputate it?"
Radek sighed. "You are not going to lose your leg, Rodney. Please, your hypochondria astounds me."
Rodney's eyes narrowed. "I am not a hypochondriac. I'll have you know that each and every one of my medical problems is extensively documented--"
Radek sighed. Time to change tactics. "I have a theory," he said.
"About the Jumper? Do you think you can get the bastard working again?"
"No, no. Not about that. I am not in any condition to be fixing Jumpers anyway."
"About what, then?"
"About us. This," he said hesitantly.
Rodney blinked. "Us." He made on odd face. "You and me us? Or you and me and Carson us? I mean, is there an us?"
"This is part of my theory."
Closing his eyes, Rodney sighed and leaned his head back on Radek's shoulder. "Do tell."
"First I must gather some data."
"Naturally." Rodney sounded vaguely annoyed, but this was nothing new.
"The other night, when I said I knew you watched Carson, you said you also were watching me." Rodney nodded. "For how long?"
"Long enough," Rodney said noncommittally.
"And what does that mean?"
Rodney sighed. "Quite a while, okay? Long enough to realize I'd lost my chance when you and Carson started seeing each other."
"Your chance with Carson?"
"My chance with either of you. Apparently I was wrong. Is there a point here somewhere?"
"You are a most annoying man, Rodney." He squeezed Rodney's shoulder.
"Yes, yes. It's one of the many things I'm good at. Next?" Rodney waved a hand in the air.
Radek thought for a while. He had to formulate his theory a bit more solidly. For the past several days, it had been hanging, amorphous, in the back of his mind.
"You awake?" Rodney asked.
Radek nodded. "Yes. Just thinking. No comments on this, please." He could almost hear Rodney's mouth snap shut. Things could get complicated if they went the way he hoped, but without saying anything he'd never know for certain. He wasn't willing to wait for simple chance. He considered taking a deep breath but thought better of it.
"Rodney, this theory of mine, it could possibly complicate our lives."
There was a quiet snort. "Somehow, this doesn't surprise me."
"After observation and experimentation, I believe that you and Carson and I... I think we are in love."
Rodney sat up and stared at him. "Love."
"Yes. You know, that emotion where you want to be around someone all the time, even if they are insufferably annoying? Where you think you want to make them happy, and they make you feel the same? Sex? Sleeping in same bed?"
"Oh. That." Rodney shook his head carefully. "Yeah, I'd say that theory could significantly complicate our lives."
"But is it accurate?"
"It's not like I can speak for Carson. I mean, you're the one who's been seeing him."
He resisted the urge to swat his friend. "You are obviously suffering from brain damage, Rodney. You should be able to speak for yourself."
"I, um... yeah, I think it could be accurate. We'd have to do some more testing." A tiny smile crept over Rodney's lips. Radek smiled back. "You can't have a solid theory without replicable results."
"Carson and I have been talking, these past few days." Rodney just looked at him, expectant, a hint of anxiety about his eyes. Radek shifted, trying to get more comfortable. "I think I need more pain medication," he said, letting his head drop back against the pilot's chair.
Rodney reached for the first aid kit and opened another packet of medication. "Here." He handed Radek the water again, and Radek swallowed the pills. "I don't think I should give you any more though. It's probably too soon for these as it is."
"The first dose was not helping."
"Look, why don't you try to get some sleep?"
"It's hopeless. Besides, I have to keep you awake."
"Right. Awake." He paused. "So tell me more about this theory of yours. You said you and Carson were talking..."
Radek let his eyes drift shut. His head hurt just a little less like that. "We were both most pleased that you said yes. And that you stayed the night with us."
He felt Rodney lean back against him again. Rodney sighed and settled in, the side of his head against Radek's neck. He could feel the roughness of the bandage and the soft, fine hair. "I couldn't believe you'd asked," Rodney said.
"I know. I was, perhaps, somewhat surprised when you agreed, but I thought you might. As I've said, I knew how you watched Carson."
"You didn't ask Carson before you asked me. Why?" Rodney put a hand on Radek's chest, moving it slowly and carefully, avoiding the broken ribs.
"Because I knew he wanted you. There was very little chance he would say no. I do not believe he ever regretted being with me, but I do think he regretted not being with you." He sighed softly as Rodney's hand caressed him.
He felt Rodney shake his head. "I can't believe this. This kind of thing never happens to me." The disbelief in Rodney's voice was almost painful. "I'm probably unconscious in the infirmary, hallucinating. It hurts too much for it to be a dream."
"You're not hallucinating."
Radek snorted. "Solipsist. Anything I do, you will say you're hallucinating."
"I knew you'd say that."
"See? It's hopeless."
"Not necessarily," Rodney said. "You might surprise me. Then again, if I'm hallucinating, who knows what the hell could happen. You could sprout wings and fly off."
"I could roll my eyes and steal your last remaining stash of coffee. When we get back to the lab of course."
"Oh, low blow. Not the coffee." Rodney's fingers traced Radek's collarbone. "You doing okay?"
"No." Radek moaned softly. His arm was miserable and the pain medications had very little effect. The ache in his ribs had long since crept toward intolerable levels, even with the taping. "The medication, it's not helping much."
"I wish I could take some," Rodney said quietly.
"It's giving me a headache," Radek said. "Is almost worse than the broken bones."
"It'll do that," Rodney agreed. "And my head hurts enough as it is."
"Maybe... maybe we should try sleep," Radek suggested.
"Do you think you can?"
"I don't know. Perhaps if you shut up."
"Talk, don't talk. Jeez. Make up your mind."
Radek let his fingers stray through McKay's hair again, tears of pain finally escaping. "I am losing my mind, Rodney. I just want to be home again. I want to be lying on a soft mattress. I want Carson there. How long has it been?"
Rodney checked his watch. "A little over four hours. They should be realizing we're missing soon."
"Good, good. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up."
Rodney nodded. "I know. Me either. And yeah, a soft mattress and Carson sounds like a winner to me." He pressed his head against Radek's hand. "Helps with the headache a little. Don't stop, okay?"
"All right. I wish I could do more to help."
"You're a lousy nurse."
"But a brilliant scientist."
Rodney chuckled. "You wish. You've got nothing on me."
"But I have a theory."
"You always have a theory. Most of them are lousy."
"Not all of them." He slipped his hand under Rodney's chin and drew him up into a careful kiss.
"Okay. If that's one of your theories, that's not lousy." Rodney leaned into him and kissed back. Radek theorized that distraction might help pass the time. It certainly seemed like a good possibility. Neither of them were in a mood for -- or physically capable of -- anything beyond some gentle kissing, but it did help.
"Nice," Rodney said, his lips moving against Radek's. "Endorphins. Definitely a good thing."
"Yes. Carson would think it brilliant." Radek kissed again, with a little tongue this time. "Ugh. You should rinse your mouth again."
Rodney sighed. "Right. I'm sure that was no fun. It doesn't taste good to me, either. Too bad they don't pack toothpaste in the medkit."
"I shall be sure to mention it when we get home."
Rodney slipped into sleep again a few moments later, and Radek just held him. Bored and in pain were not a good combination, but there really was nothing for them to do but wait. He couldn't repair anything with one arm, and Rodney couldn't be moved or the pain would become overwhelming. He wished he could splint Rodney's leg, but even with both of them, it would be very difficult. It was best to wait until the rescue party arrived. Surely they would bring Carson along.
He woke to the sound of persistent tapping. Rodney was still sleeping, and it was dark. A beam of light moved by slowly and Radek realized that someone was at the front screen of the Jumper.
"Rodney. Rodney, wake up. They're here." He jostled Rodney, pushing with his good arm to get out from under him. "I have to move. I must see what's going on."
"Here?" Rodney mumbled, then more coherent, "They're here?
"Unless trees now have torches."
"Get up. Find out why they haven't opened the rear hatch yet."
"Without power, it is going to take some time." He got to his feet, hissing at the sharp pain in his arm and ribs.
"They should have had
it by now."
"We don't even know how long they have been here."
Rodney glowered in the shadows. "Long enough to be knocking on the window. Why aren't they radioing us?"
"Magnetic anomaly is probably interfering."
"Oh, yeah. Right."
Radek got himself around the pilot's seat and looked out the front screen. Carson stood there, looking half-panicked, a lifesigns detector in hand. He tapped at the screen and Carson looked up, startled. The relief on his face was immediate. He started talking, but Radek couldn't hear a word.
With one hand, he pulled a pen and a pad from his pocket and began the painstaking process of scribbling a note with his left hand. He held it up to the window.
*Rodney broken leg concussion. Me broken arm ribs. Power loss. How long to open Jumper?*
Carson read the note and nodded. He turned and shouted, and several people came to the Jumper's screen. They held a short conversation and then Major Sheppard started writing something down on a notepad. He held it up to the screen so that Radek could read it.
*There's a tree blocking the rear hatch. We're going to have to move the Jumper to get you out. Find something and hang on.*
Radek nodded and went back to Rodney. "They cannot open the door because a tree is blocking it. They will need to move the Jumper. I've informed them of our condition. Major Sheppard says to hang on."
"Uh, okay. Hanging on." Rodney grabbed the pilot's chair with both hands.
"Wait a minute. I must sit as well. I don't want to be standing when they move us." He sat next to Rodney with some painful effort. Rodney tucked one arm around him carefully, and they held on together.
A few minutes later they heard loud scraping, and the Jumper shuddered, but it stopped without the craft changing positions. Another few minutes passed, both of them nervous and hurting, before the Jumper itself began to move. The ship shuddered and lifted, then tilted. They clung to the pilot's chair and each other as best they could, but by the time the Jumper was on the ground again, flat on its belly, Rodney and Radek were both panting from the pain and had broken into a sweat. Radek bit his lip, trying to hold back his cries of pain. Rodney didn't manage to keep his in.
"Easy, easy," Radek gasped, stroking Rodney's back as the Jumper finally stilled. "I think it's over now."
"I hope they open the fucking door soon." Rodney's voice was tight and strained, shaking. Radek was sure his own was as well.
Neither of them spoke again until the rear hatch opened. Carson was the first one in, and he rushed to them and knelt beside them. "Are you lot all right?" He didn't even try to conceal the concern in his eyes as he examined them.
"Rodney first," Radek insisted. "We weren't able to splint his leg. His injury is worse than mine." Rodney didn't say a word. He just nodded, eyes screwed tightly shut as Carson's hands moved gently on him.
"It looks like a bad break," Carson said quietly. He looked at Rodney's eyes, took his blood pressure, and did all those other things Radek knew doctors were supposed to do when examining an injured person.
Kavanagh poked his head in as Carson worked. "So Zelenka, what happened to your Jumper?"
Radek sighed. Kavanagh was perhaps the last person he wanted to see right now, but he understood why he'd been brought along. "I don't know. First we encountered an electromagnetic anomaly. I do not believe this had anything to do with the crash, though."
Rodney nodded. "It seems unlikely."
"We lost inertial dampening and then we lost power. Fortunately, we were near enough that Rodney was able to land us here, rather than in the ocean." Radek tried not to think about what that would have meant. After the city had nearly been destroyed within hours of their arrival, the thought of drowning terrified him.
Kavanagh started poking around in the maintenance hatches, prodding with the engineering probes. "Right, right. I'll see what I can figure out." He turned to the door. "Simpson! Where are you? I need a little help in here!"
Simpson hurried in after a moment, carrying a full engineering repair kit. "I'm on it." She looked over at Radek. "Dr. Zelenka, are you all right? We were worried about you."
Rodney scowled at her. "Not about me, I gather."
She shook her head. "You, too, Dr. McKay. You're a little busy at the moment, though."
"Yeah, sure. Ignore the dying man."
"You're not dying, Rodney," Carson said. Radek could hear the fondness and relief in his voice. "In fact, you'll be good as new in no time."
"I will be fine, Dr. Simpson," Radek said. "But I will be very glad to get home."
She smiled at him and went to help Kavanagh. "And we'll be glad to have you back."
Sheppard and Ford entered with Markham and Smith, who were toting a stretcher. "Hey, McKay. I knew I couldn't turn my back on you without something like this happening."
"I'm ever so pleased to see you, too, Major," Rodney snapped.
"Let's get him to the Jumper so I can take care of Radek and we can bring our lost lads home," Carson said. He gestured to Markham and Smith.
"How are we gonna get the damaged Jumper home?" Rodney asked as they helped him onto the stretcher. "Ow! Fuck! Easy!" he hissed. "Broken leg here!"
"We'll clamp it to the bottom of Jumper One," Sheppard said. "It's got grapplers underneath."
"I did not know about this," Radek said.
"We figured it out on the way here," Kavanagh said. Markham and Smith picked up the stretcher and carried Rodney away.
"Now it's your turn," Carson said.
"I can walk," Radek told him. "I just need a bit of help to stand. My ribs, they hurt very much."
Carson nodded and helped him up. Radek's relief at Carson's touch was almost overwhelming and he bit back tears again. "I'll get you home soon, love," Carson said quietly. "We'll be leaving shortly, right enough."
They walked together, slowly, to Jumper One. "I need to tell you," Radek said, panting slightly through his pain.
"What's that you need to say?" Carson had Radek's good arm over his shoulder, supporting him, his own arm around Radek's waist.
"That I love you."
Carson smiled at him. "I know, Radek. I've known for a while now. It's not so hard to see in your face."
"Rodney does too, you know."
A blush crept up Carson's cheeks. "Aye, I knew that when you had him come to us." Carson looked around quickly and, seeing no one, pressed a kiss to Radek's cheek. "I love you both as well, though you're daft buggers."
Radek couldn't help smiling through his pain. "He knows this. We... we talked, when there was nothing else to do and I had to keep him awake."
"That's good, then. Less trouble when we ask if he wants to live with us."
Radek shook his head. "You are certain you want to have him around so much?"
"You're the one who works with him most of the day when he's not offworld. I'd only be seeing him when he's not in the lab. That I can deal with."
Radek nodded, but they quieted when they got to Jumper One. "We shall speak of this later," he said.
"Aye, later, in private." Carson helped him lie down next to Rodney in the back of the Jumper.
"When can we go home?" Rodney asked plaintively.
Sheppard was kneeling over him, working with Markham to make Rodney more comfortable. "Soon as we get Zelenka settled. Then we'll link up the Jumpers and get our asses out of here. You look like crap, McKay."
"You mean I have to ride an hour back to Atlantis with Kavanagh in the same compartment?"
"Actually, we're dropping Kavanagh and Simpson at the research facility with Markham and Smith. We'll send a Jumper back for them first thing tomorrow."
Radek tried to sit up, but Carson held him down. "What? You are leaving *them* here to work on *our* project?"
"It's not like either of you are fit to be doing this yourselves," Carson said. "You've both got a night in the infirmary before you, and time off work as well."
"Lovely," Rodney growled. "Kavanagh'll destroy everything before we ever get a chance to see it."
"Simpson will keep him in line," Radek said. "I think he is afraid of her." They both chuckled.
"All right, lads. Time to get you settled in for the trip home." Carson ran one gentle hand over Radek's forehead, brushing his hair away from his eyes. "I'll have you both set right soon enough."
Radek looked at Rodney. They smiled at each other. It would be good to get back to Atlantis. There was a lot to talk about, and much to look forward to.
Radek murmured happily as Carson's warm, strong hands moved on his shoulders. "That's good," he said, quiet in Carson's lap. "Rodney, your bed is not big enough for all of us." Carson chuckled softly.
Rodney raised an eyebrow and poked him with one finger as he sat next to Carson, leaning back into a pillow. "Kavanagh said the Ancients were trying to use the electromagnetic anomaly to generate energy, but it didn't pan out, so it was abandoned," he said with a sigh.
"Better we did not waste our time with it, then," Radek said.
Rodney snorted at him. "No, I only got broken bones and a concussion for nothing, thank you very much."
"You're doing just fine, Rodney," Carson said. He looked over at Rodney. "And I'll get to you next, don't fret."
"You've been rubbing his shoulders for the last half hour. I want my turn now." Rodney pouted like a particularly annoying child.
Carson shook his head. "You'll get what's coming to you, trust me." He turned his face to Rodney and kissed him, slipping one hand behind his neck and caressing. At least it shut Rodney up.
"I have been thinking about this too small bed problem," Radek said, trying for nonchalant. "I believe I have a solution." Rodney and Carson kept right on with their kiss, not bothering to answer. Radek grinned. "I think that we should all share quarters. Find large, family sized apartment and make sure it has a very large bed. Then, there is room enough for all of us."
Rodney made a choked sound and backed away from Carson, blinking and sputtering. "You... what?"
"Carson concurs," Radek said, trying not to laugh. Carson nodded enthusiastically and tugged Rodney back into the kiss.
Rodney pulled away again, still sputtering. "Hey, wait a minute!"
"Why?" Carson asked. "I thought it was a splendid idea."
"In fact, he thought of it," Radek said.
"Indeed I did." Carson beamed at them both.
Rodney looked at both of them, befuddled. "Wait a minute. We just started this whole "'Rodney and Carson and Radek fuck' thing about a week ago. And now you want to... you want me to..."
"Aye, Rodney, we want to live with you."
Radek could see the hamsters running in their little wheels inside Rodney's head as he started making the connections. "But... wait. That thing you said, Radek. I mean, I think you said it, right? When I was all concussed?" He paused for a minute. "I'm so going to get you for saying all the serious shit when I can barely remember it."
"It's about love, Rodney," Radek told him, smiling.
"You? Me? Live with... umm... Carson?" Rodney looked at him, helpless.
"It's true," Carson said. He stroked Rodney's cheek with one thumb. "We'd been talking about it a bit before you left on that mission."
"One bed," Rodney said, his hamsters apparently not quite up to their usual processing speed. "Three of us."
"Yes, yes, Rodney," Radek said. "I believe the light is starting to dawn."
"Well?" Carson said with a hint of amused impatience.
"Um. Yes?" Rodney blinked.
"That would be the correct answer," Radek assured him.
"Oh. Good. I 'd hate to be wrong," Rodney mumbled, looking stunned.
"Wouldn't be the first time," Carson said, smiling.
Rodney cleared his throat. "Oh. Well. Naturally you'd both want to live with me. I am, of course, the prize catch of Atlantis. Anyone in their right mind would want me."
Carson and Radek looked at each other and snorted. "Oh, aye, of course," Carson said, barely holding on to his laughter. "Rodney, you daft git, we love you. Even if you can't quite wrap your brain around it, it's true."
"Yes," Radek agreed. "Entirely. Though if you snore, we will make you sleep on the couch."
Rodney paused, mouth half open, one finger in the air, caught in mid-pointification. "Love?" He blinked.
"Yes. You do remember that part of our conversation in the Jumper, yes?" Radek patted Rodney's arm.
"Um. Yeah. I do remember that."
"So what is the problem?"
Rodney's eyes narrowed slightly. "I thought you were kidding. I mean, what with me dying of a concussion and all, I just though you wanted to distract me."
"Carson, may I strangle him now?"
"No, love. Then I'd just have to patch him back up."
Rodney looked back and forth between them, annoyance on his face. "Oh, not funny. You guys aren't even a little serious."
"On the contrary," Carson said, the smile fading from his face. "We're quite serious. Except about the sleeping on the couch if you snore bit."
Radek nodded. "So, will you live with us? We need to know so that we can speak to Dr. Weir about living quarters."
"This is for real," Rodney said, confused.
They nodded. "For smartest man in two galaxies, Rodney, you are very slow on the uptake sometimes." Radek sighed and shook his head. "Why I love you, I have no idea."
"It's his lovely bum," Carson stage-whispered.
"Well, yes, certainly that is part of it," Radek said thoughtfully.
"If I say yes, will you stop torturing me?" Rodney asked.
"Most likely not," Carson said, "but we might be persuaded to have sex with you on a regular basis."
"Oh." Rodney grinned. "Then yes."
They all laughed. Carson pulled Rodney into an embrace with both of them, and Radek had his arm around Rodney as well. His ribs were a bit sore, but he had no plans for anything strenuous. He just wanted to touch and be touched.
Bodies shifted carefully, moving until all three were lying together on Rodney's small bed. Rodney was careful of his leg, and Carson watched out for both of them, gently reminding them to take things easy as he ran his hands over them. Rodney and Radek tucked him between them, both of them kissing him, lips caressing his face and neck and shoulders.
In the midst of it all, there was a warm, strong hand on Radek's shaft, and his good hand was around someone else's. It all felt most wonderful, and from the sounds Rodney and Carson were making, they felt the same. It didn't really seem to matter whose hand was on whose cock, but there was stroking and kissing and lots of touching.
The body-length contact of flesh on flesh was sweet and delicious. Rodney's mouth was hot and wet and demanding and Carson's moans were a soft shiver down Radek's spine. Yes, it seemed his theory was correct. Love really was the basis for unification, and three men able to share that love could touch the energy that held the stars together.
Rodney sighed and bit Radek's lip, moaning as he came. Carson cried out Radek's name as he shuddered against him. Radek, panting, lost himself in Rodney's hand as Carson sucked on his neck.
Behind closed eyes, Radek could see the stars.